Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 | 12:20 a.m.
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With two of its top players sitting on the bench with injuries, Silverado's football team remained undefeated with a 21-13 win over Centennial on Friday night.
Despite losing running back Terran Madu-Jules to an ankle injury and quarterback Trenten Tipton to a dislocated collar bone — both sustained in the season's second-week game against Mojave — the Skyhawks (3-0) pulled out the victory and showed they are ready for Southeast Division play next week.
"We knew we were going to have a little trouble tonight without Tipton or Madu," Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. "Any time you lose a chunk of your backfield like that, it is going to be tough. We had some guys step in and do what we needed them to do. That's good to see before we jump into division games."
Silverado's defense again came up big, holding the Bulldogs scoreless through the first three quarters while collecting two fumbles, an interception and eight sacks. They had only given up six points in two games entering the contest.
Osotlaza said he was worried early in the year about the offense growing to rely on the defense but has seen the offense blossom in the last two games.
The offensive line, a point of concern because of inexperience, propelled senior running back Michael Wadsworth to 123 yards on 17 carries while junior Dariouse Gravely collected 70 yards and three touchdowns in 13 carries.
Junior quarterback Kyle Simmons, in his first start, completed three passes for 28 yards with an interception. Ostolaza said Simmons showed he can manage the run-heavy offense.
Ostolaza said the 'Hawks will have to continue to see best efforts across the board as they head into their league-opener against Liberty.
"We knew we were going to need three or four weeks to get our offense where we wanted it," Ostolaza said. "We're getting better and it showed in the fact that we were able to drive the ball against a team like Centennial. We're going to have to keep getting contributions from guys like Wadsworth, Gravely and Simmons."
Ostolaza said the defense played another solid game but felt they eased off in the fourth quarter — out of complacency or fatigue — and committed costly mental errors that allowed the Bulldogs (2-1) to climb back into the game.
"It's tough to complain when you only give up 13 points to a team like Centennial, but the way we were playing to that point, we shouldn't have let them score," he said.
Senior line backer T.J. Alofipo picked up three sacks, including two on consecutive plays for a loss of 16 total yards, but agreed with Ostolaza that the team eased off as the game came to a close.
"I don't think the defense played its best," Alofipo said. "I know we won, but we're taught the best score is zero. We always want to see a zero on the board. We've just got to pick it up. We're going into league play now. No more mistakes."
Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.